Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

A couple of days ago during a visit to San Francisco’s The Fairmont Hotel I finally got to meet  Thomas Wolfe, Chief concierge of the hotel. Elegantly dressed in a suit and a bow tie he graciously answered all my inquisitive questions about the hotel’s rich history, Alfred Hitchcock and Ella Fitzgerald. We got talking about 1920s and Art Deco. Turns out there is a famous Art Deco room in the hotel that I had not seen. He gently suggested I may want to take a peek at the room before I left the hotel.

I  eagerly trotted off to see the Cirque Room, a beautifully appointed room and the first bar to open in San Francisco after Prohibition was lifted. I took a couple of pictures and then ambled back to thank him for his suggestion. I coud not find him. He was probably busy helping other guests with their questions. I shall thank him in person the next time I am at the Fairmont.

Cirque, Fairmont Hotel San Francisco

Cirque, Fairmont Hotel San Francisco

For those who don’t know – The Fairmont Hotel is located on Nob Hill, a tony neighborhood in San Francisco. You can’t help but notice the imposing  facade of the historic hotel that opened its door for business in 1907.  Over the years, I have picked up little tidbits about the hotel and its rich history. And every time I discover a new piece of information about the hotel. For example, Nabob Hill is where the rich nabobs (or nawabs to be precise) of 19th lived in their lavishly appointed mansions.

At the end of World War II the hotel played a key role in the creation of  The United Nations (UN), a new organization to help promote peace and cooperation between nations. San Francisco was the place where world leaders congregated to create the UN and the charter of the UN was drafted in the Garden Room of the Fairmont Hotel.

The next time  you are in Nob Hill neighborhood pop into the hotel and take a peek. It is worth it. Oh, I forgot to mention you can follow Thomas Wolfe on Twitter.


San Francisco

San Francisco

Post cards. Remember getting those colorful post cards from your family and friends when they visited a new place or city? As a kid I used to collect these post cards, and pester folks to send them to me. Sometimes, a kindly neighbor would give me their old post cards their “foreign” friends sent them. Somewhere in my house I still have a couple of shoe boxes with a stack of post cards. And then there were the colorful calendars with pictures and captivating images of places and people from different parts of the world. I remember those intensely vivid Eastman calendar that featured scenes from Germany. Or, was it ORWO calendar? These postcards and calendars transported me to different places around the world and kindled my curiosity about their culture, food, music and food. A picture speaks a thousand words was so true for those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet age.

Anyway, I digressed. In this digital age those old tyme postcards are not cool. What is cool are video post cards. Every week I shall (attempt) to share a video postcard from my travels. Hope you enjoy these travel cards.

Here is the first travel post card from San Francisco. San Francisco, or the city by the bay is a compact place filled with interestingness. Here is a quick dekho at San Fran, please don’t call it ‘Frisco. We zip across the city from the iconic Golden Gate bridge to the Bay bridge, Nob Hill, and Land’s End.

Quick Travel Suggestions:

If you have less than 24 hours in San Francisco here are a couple of things you can do. San Francisco is a food obssessed city and there are lots of neat little cafes, dives and wonderful restaurants to suit your budget. Head down to the bottom of Ferry Building Marketplace on Market Street to grab a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and a sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery. Don’t sit in. Head straight out to the back of the building and park yourself in a sunny spot and  do some people watching. Maybe you can play Otis Redding’s “Sitting By The Dock Of The Bay,” while you are noshing that sandwich?

Alternatively instead of the Ferry Building head to the Fisherman’s Wharf area  in a cable car.The best part of riding the cable car is you will catch tantalizing glimpses of the city and its steep streets.At the wharf grab one of those famous San Francisco sour dough sandwiches at Boundin Bakery and then head down to taste that famous glass of Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe. Be warned, it will be crowded.  And if you still have some room then mosey over to Ghiradelli Square and indulge in a sweet treat at the famous chocolate store.

Now, if you are a little bit adventurous mosey up to China Town and the neighboring Italian neighborhood of North Beach. And if you are really, really adventurous then head over to Golden Gate Park and Cliff House. All these places are easily accessible via public transportation or by foot. Let me clarify – you can reach both these destinations by bus and then walk around to explore.

Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to grab your jacket. San Francisco weather can be very deceptive and it can go from being warm and toasty to cold within hours.